Somaliland: Government Assumes Full Control of Disputed Building

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Hisbiga demolition standoff 3rd oct 2012

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Hargeisa municipality has been ordered to keep off the Hisbiga (party) Building.

The president H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo in a statement issued by his spokesperson Ahmed Suleiman Duhul ordered the city municipality to keep off the huge building next, which is within Gobanimo market and opposite Radio Hargeisa.

The head of state who also instruct the interior minister to ensure that the city municipality adheres to the order was reacting to running battles between police and Small market entrepreneurs-SMEs that refused to vacate the building on demands of the municipality.

The municipality had demanded that the SMEs (mostly milk sellers) vacate the sprawling building that it had allocated a local business tycoon, called in riot police after the SMEs started demonstrating in protest against forceful removal that involved demolition of their business structures.

Once the protest ensued at the site, the municipality summoned riot police who managed to disperse the demonstrators after firing several bullets and the subsequent arrest of over 20 people among them women.

The president’s statement read:

Quote- The government is to develop the Hisbiga building thus facilitates the provision of a number of public services to citizens.

According to a statement # JSL/M/MHH/241/0506 ee 06/05/06 issued by the former administration in 2006 which seems to have been totally ignored, the building and its entire compound is the sole property of the central government and not the municipality which can neither allocate nor utilize in any manner.

To this effect, I hereby inform the Hargeisa mayor that the municipality cannot allocate nor undertake any development activities within and around the Hisbiga building and compound since it has been reserved for public use by the central government.

At the same time, the minister of interior should ensure that the municipality adheres to these demands. Unquote.

It remains to be seen what will transpire at the area after the presidential order considering that over 20 people are in police custody while a lot of property belonging to the SME’s was destroyed during the demolitions

At the same time Somalilanders are interested in the identity of the local tycoon who is said to have bought the building and adjacent land from the municipality, how did he do it bribery? Was he not aware that the building belongs to the government?

What did the municipality and tycoon plan for the SMEs who have operated within the building and vicinity for two decades?

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